"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Yesterday was my last day at work before I head off to grad school in a couple of weeks. Today, I finally moved the last of my stuff out of the apartment I lived in for four years and officially moved in with the fiancé (Seven whole months before the wedding! Scandalous!).

But I'm posting to let everyone know that I will be spending the coming week in sunny Pasadena, so I may be slightly delinquent about posting and replying to comments while I'm gone. I know there's no Internet access in my hotel room without paying for it (which I refuse to do), but hopefully I can find some Wi-Fi somewhere to get my blog fix. Otherwise, my Google Reader is going to be totally out of control when I come home.

That, and I really wanted an excuse to post some Bowie:

Seriously, WTF?

funny pictures

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Feminist Sex-Ed: Women Get Erections, Too!

Susie Bright, the amazing feminist writer and sex educator, has a post up today at her blog that I just had to share:

The Internal Clitoris— What a Woman's Cock Really Looks Like

If you told a man that his "penis" was nothing more than the head of his cock— his "glans"— he would laugh in your face.

If he pitied you, he might tell you that there was an important aspect to the penis called the shaft, also the frenulum, and perhaps a foreskin. His scrotum and balls are part of the essential package as well.

Women's anatomy education, on the other hand, has been a giant exercise in vacancy. Until recent times, we've been schooled that the clitoris— the female analog to the penis— is nothing more than the small glans one can see on the outside of the vulva.

Start laughing.

Women have a big, big, clitoral body— but it's nearly all on the inside, instead of the outdoor plumbing that's viewed so easily on men.
Go check it out. The post includes this video, which is probably NOT safe for work, although it should be. (I watched it at work. So there.)

The part where the artist draws a big ol' heart-shaped outer labia over the whole thing in red marker? LOVE.

Under Lock and Key

So, on the way home from work last night at about 11:30pm, I stopped at the grocery store to grab a couple of things. After putting a gallon of milk and some Bagel Bites into my shopping basket, I remembered that the fiancé and I were out of condoms, so I headed over to the pharmacy section to grab a box. I had bought them from this particular Kroger plenty of times, but when I got to the aisle, I saw that they had put all of the condoms (as well as the home pregnancy tests) behind a locked glass case, and there was a sign telling customers to find an associate for help obtaining items in the case.

Annoyed, I sighed and went to the nearby chashier at the self checkout and told him I needed an item from the locked case in the pharmacy section.

He looked up at me sluggishly. "Oh, the condom box?"

I nodded.

"Ruth!" he yelled after much older cashier who was walking away. "She needs something from the condom box!"

This Ruth apparently didn't hear very well. She turned around and came back toward us, asking, "What?!" to which the first cashier repeated himself, "The condom box! This lady needs something out of the condom box!"

I stood there, rather amused, as Ruth took the little key from the first cashier and proceeded to try to use it to open a drawer at the register.

The first cashier, getting impatient, quasi-yelled this time, "No. The condom box!" And I tried to help by adding and pointing, "It's over in the pharmacy section."

Finally understanding, Ruth had me follow her over to the glass case, and before opening it, she said, "Now what was it that you needed?"

I pointed at the box behind the glass. "These."

"Okay," she said, and slooooowly opened the case to pull out the box of Trojans with spermicidal lubricant.

Noticing that they were on sale for, like, 3 dollars cheaper than usual, I asked her to go ahead and give me two boxes.

"Really?" she asked, really looking up at me for the first time. And then she added, "Wow."

WTF, right? She really said that! I imagined she was either totally judging me for being slutty or totally jealous of my apparent sex life. It wasn't as bad as the time the cashier at CVS asked me if the UTI medicine and Vagisil I was buying were for me and then proceeded to remind me how important it is to take care of my urinary tract, but I was still surprised this lady had the nerve to make a comment.

Rather than just giving the condoms to me, I had to follow her to the register with them and proceed to check out.

Now, even though I think the whole ordeal ended up being rather amusing, I have to admit that I was pretty pissed that the condoms were in a locked case in the first place. Not because I'm the type of person who is too embarrassed to ask for help in getting them, but because I hate it when something as important as contracepion is hard for people to obtain. I'm sure the condoms and pregnancy tests were locked up for a practical purpose like theft-prevention, but the way I see it, instances of theft of those particular items is likely high due to the shame associated with purchasing them. And by making it necessary to ask an associate for help, stores only increase customers' fear of shame or embarrassent. Even though I considered my particular encounter with the store-workers to be sort of funny, I can't help thinking that if I had been a scared teenager trying to buy condoms for the first time or if I had been an even more scared teenager hoping to buy a pregnancy test as discreetly as possible, the experience would have had the potential to be completely mortifying. If I had actually been concerned about being judged for my purchase, I easily might have backed out and would have either gone somewhere else, or worse -- gone without.

And that makes me mad. Kids already have such a hard time getting accurate information about contraception, and now we keep condoms under lock and key so that they have no way to protect themselves?

Theft-protection or not, I think that's pretty unfair.

By the way, if you want some help picturing the story as it happened, Ruth the cashier looked almost exactly like the second lady in this commercial:

That's right. The one who says, "I had no idea my gold jewelry was worth so much money," in the most unexcited voice possible. The fiancé and I definitely had a good laugh about that when I got home last night.

Olympic Controversies Summed Up

As reported by the Daily Show:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Today in Double Standards:

Another Olympics-Related one: Tobes at Hear Me Roar:
But when you compare male/female Olympians with similar qualifications (good story, press coverage, similar medals won, records set etc) ... men STILL earn more. Much more. The pay disparity shocked the hell out of me. Nearly an 80 MILLION dollar difference between the top female and male athletes!

Stephanie Tubbs Jones: 1949-2008


I just read at Feministing that Stephanie Tubbs Jones, "the first black woman to represent Ohio, and one of only 23 women of color in Congress" has died.

Jones attended law school at Case Western University and served as a judge and a prosecutor before being elected to Congress in 1998.

When the Democrats took control of the House in 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Tubbs Jones as the chairwoman of the Ethics Committee.

A strong supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tubbs Jones endorsed Barack Obama in June and was scheduled to attend next week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.

She was only 58 years old. This is a huge loss to the people of Cleveland and the whole country. My thougths are with her family and loved ones.

Melissa and Pam have more.

Becoming Amelia


After her awesome portrayal of Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels, I'm totally excited about the choice of Hillary Swank to play Amelia Earhart in the upcoming biopic Amelia, which is currently in production and expected to hit theaters in 2009.


I also couldn't be any more jazzed about the fact that the director of this film is none other than the amazing Mira Nair (of The Namesake, Vanity Fair, and Monsoon Wedding fame).

Meanwhile, Amy Adams is set to play Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum 2, which is also due out next year.


It's kinda cool to see Amelia Earhart getting some big-screen recognition. I always thought she would have made a good addition to the time-travelling group of historical figures in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but they decided to go the token route and make Joan of Arc the only girl in the group. And she didn't even have any lines in the movie!

I love me some Internetz!

I have no idea how I have made it this long without seeing this:

My life is now complete.


Work it, Cloris!

Cloris Leachman began her segment of the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget by announcing, "I'm not here to roast Bob Saget. I'm here to fuck John Stamos."

And then, she ended with this:

[Update: I notice that this video has been removed as well. For those who didn't get to see it before it disappeared, Cloris says, "Now, get up here, John!" And Stamos goes up to give her a kiss that turns into a rather long and steamy makeout.]

Love it.

By the way, I only recommend watching the whole roast if you're super-keen on seeing a bunch of comics resort to making fat jokes about Jeff Garlin and calling Bob Saget gay. Yeah. Not my idea of a good time, either.

Norm MacDonald's intentionally-subtle-non-roasty roast had me in stitches, though, but I couldn't find a clip that hadn't been removed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Not Your Baby

I just lent a key for a piece of equipment to a male contractor at my job, and as he returned to my office and handed it back to me, he said:

"Here you go, baby."

My inner monologue went something like this: "Did he really just call me 'baby'? Seriously? Should I be flattered or something? No! I'm not flattered. I'm not your baby!"

What did I do, though? How did I -- a card-carrying feminist -- put him in his place?

I smiled slightly less than I usually would as I thanked him and avoided making eye contact.

Boy, did I show him, or what?

He went on his way with his world completley unchanged, secure in his privilege to never give our seemingly innocuous interaction a second thought, and I'm left in my office, annoyed with myself for not having the balls/ovaries/whatever to call him out on his sexism.

On one hand, this is a guy I don't know and will probably never see again, so why waste the energy it takes for me to respond negatively (and surely cause him to regard me as a total bitch in the process), but on the other hand, why should he feel entitled to call me "baby"? That shit makes me totally uncomfortable, and while there may be plenty of women out there who either don't mind it or find it flattering, I can say with confidence that it's certainly not true for all of us.

It's just frustrating that I can be spoken to so dismissively and "endrearingly" called names like "baby" and "sweetie" by men who don't even know me simply by virtue of my being both young and female. And it's more frustrating that when it happens, there are so many reasons to not even bother to speak up about it.

America the Beautiful

Gotta see this when it comes out. Not only does it look cool and interesting, but Eve Ensler is in it!

Visit the film's website to learn more.

Update: Tobes has a post with a CNN segment on the film.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Greg Jarrett of Fox News Apologizes for Blatant Trans-Hate

Fox News Apologizes:

And here's what they apologized for:

I think the transphobia, homophibia and misogyny are pretty apparent, but in case you can't watch the video clips, here's how GLAAD describes it:
Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett and Us Weekly Editor-at-Large Ian Drew spent the segment gratuitously insulting the America's Next Top Model contestant, using dehumanizing terminology, inaccurate and inappropriate pronouns and offensive references to her anatomy.

While laughing and joking, Jarrett mocked Isis’ description of herself as a woman whose “cards were dealt differently,” and said, “That’s an understatement!” Drew referred to recent instances of transgender visibility on reality television as “The Crying Game ’08,” going on to call the show “America’s Next Top Tranny.” Drew then said that she doesn’t look any different from other contestants because “they are not exactly the most high-class group of women.” Throughout the segment, Jarrett switched back and forth between male and female pronouns, and both Jarrett and Drew suggested that Isis “fooled” people by “blending in.” They went on to make crude remarks about her genitalia and the pitch of her voice.

(Via CineQueer)

Excluding, Judging, and Shaming Women is Anti-Feminist

[UPDATE: tigtog pointed out that the original title for and some of the language in this post made it sound like I am criticizing all radical feminists, and this is certainly not the case. I have made changes accordingly.]

Check out this awesome post in which tigtog calls out TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radfems, (thanks for this term, tigtog!) for scapegoating transwomen:
Of course transnsgender behaviours are an exercise in artificiality - but is it fundamentally any more artificial than cisgender behaviours? If reifying gender by dressing so very femininely is so fundamentally awful, then why so much criticism reserved mainly for the transwomen who do so, and so little criticism by comparison for all the ciswomen who embrace all the rituals and accessorised impedimenta of femininity?
Seriously, go read the whole thing. She does such a wonderful job of summarizing and deconstructing some of the most common arguments radical feminists make for excluding transwomen from feminist events and pursuits. Some interesting discussion is going on in the comments section there as well.

I have to admit that when I was new to feminism (or feminist theory, anyway), I identifited first and foremost with a radical point of view. Why work within the current system for change when the system is the problem and should be overthrown completely? Liberal feminism felt like feminism-lite after being inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Firestone, Greer, Dworkin and the like. But despite embracing some radical ideas, it got harder and harder for me to get behind radical feminism entirely as it became more and more apparent how often many (though not all) radical feminists rely not just on criticizing cultural systems, but on judging and shaming women (both trans and cis) for the various ways in which they operate within those systems. And I just can't get behind that.

While it is fine for feminists to spend time describing patriarchal society and theorizing alternatives, it just doesn't make sense to do this without recognizing that, in this reality, all women must bargain with patriarchy in different ways and to different degrees just to get by. My feminism does not allow for judging or shaming women for the ways in which they bargain.

You can criticize transwomen, sex-workers, sex-positives, religious women, married women, heterosexual women, and/or women from other cultures all you like, but if you ask me, it doesn't make you MORE of a feminist than the rest of us -- it actually makes you pretty UN-feminist.

(See also: Womanist Musings - Radical Feminsm And CIS Privilege)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today in Double Standards: Olympic Edition


But did you also know that while male Olympic athletes should eat lots of calories in the form of a wide variety of delicious food, such as pancakes and sausage and delicious cheesy bean things and big old sandwiches on white bread, women should be sure to eat only “clean” foods? And that it is totally adorable when a man doesn’t cook at all, but women should always make their own food and never order pizza? And that eating junk food like oatmeal or cereal is very bad for you? And that an appropriate amount of “extra protein” after an Olympic caliber swimming workout consists of two eggs and two slices of toast?

Well, now you know.

Laredhel at Hoyden About Town:
A couple of years ago, Tigtog posted about athletlcs uniforms and the trend toward sexified, midriff-baring, underwear-style women’s uniforms.

At the time, she wondered whether the women at the next Olympics would be running in sports corsets. While not quite corsets, the women’s uniforms in the big sports are all skintight, while the men (with the exception of swimmers) are wearing looser with more coverage. Tigtog said it before, but I’ll say it again: minute increases in performance cannot account for this difference, otherwise the men would be in skintight clothing also.

No. It’s not about faster, higher, stronger. Women in sports are promoted as sexualised bodies for ogling; men are promoted as performers.

Kate Harding at Shapely Prose:
Barnes goes on to explain that the compression suits improve performance and make things easier on the athletes’ bodies — so, you know, he guesses it’s okay. “You can always regain your femininity when you have wriggled out of the damn things after the race.” Oh, hey, great point! I mean the one about how wearing functional, appropriate clothing to compete against other world-class athletes = a loss of femininity, of course. Thank god there’s a cure! Just wriggle out of a wet swimsuit on in front of a bunch of TV cameras, preferably flashing the boobs that were so confusingly compressed for a couple of minutes there!

And hey, didja know there actually have been boob flashes, y’all? Two Australian swimmers already had the suits come apart on them! AWESOME! (Which leads me to wonder: At some point, shouldn’t the possibility of seeing naked boobs outweigh the lamentable lack of outlines in the LZR Racer? Get your priorities straight, Barnes!)

It gets better. Given all the new world records being set in swimming these days, Barnes generously concedes, “So it’s worth looking a bit flat-chested if you want the speed.”

IF you want the speed. As an Olympic athlete.

“Hmm, shall I go with the suit that’s better for my body and will increase my chances of winning, or the one that will increase the pleasure of men staring at my tits while I compete in an event I’ve been training my fucking ass off for years? Crap, let me get back to you. That’s a toughie.”

Kayla at the Feministing Community Blog:
Why is it that women can not simply be strong, powerful, and athletic? Why must they be sexualized and forced in to evening gowns? And why is it that similar articles featuring men are never published? Oh, right. It's the Olympics. Of course the big, strong men will be going. But these muscular, toned women? Let's just cover up all of that masculine power with a sexy dress so we aren't too afraid to ogle their tits.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Importance of Opening Weekend

Every time my fiance Dan is interested in a new movie, he keeps tabs on it, knows when it hits theaters, and usually prefers to see it opening weekend. He and a bunch of friends often meet up at the theater on a film's opening night. Just this summer, he's done this with Iron Man, Hellboy II, Kung Fu Panda, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. He probably would have done the same thing with Indiana Jones:The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Wall-E, and The Dark Knight if he hadn't waited until I was free to see them. He's out seeing Seth Rogen's new flick Pineapple Express as we speak. For him and his friends, opening weekends dictate when and why they get together. It isn't just catching movies when it's convenient and seeing whatever is playing. For them (and for millions of twenty-something males), the movie is the event.

It really got me thinking about opening weekend when Melissa Silverstein (from the blog Women & Hollywood) posted this excerpt from a USA Today article in which she was quoted:

If Sex and the City and Mamma Mia! have proved anything, it's that it makes no difference to the bottom line if most men decide to steer clear. Women did it all by themselves.

And if female moviegoers want more of the same, they will have to continue to take a break from their busy routines and buy a ticket again.

"Go see a movie about women on the opening weekend, that is what matters to Hollywood," says Melissa Silverstein, who blogs on the Women & Hollywood site and contributes to the Huffington Post. "We need to build our economic power and prove we're a market."

Cash, at least, doesn't have a gender bias.

"The only thing that makes anyone pay attention is money," says Diane English, the creator of TV's Murphy Brown whose update of the 1939 Joan Crawford-Norma Shear classic The Women arrives Sept. 12.

"Anyone who thinks otherwise shouldn't be in this business. Young men under 25 keep seeing comic-book and slasher films, and that's why Hollywood makes them. If women want to change things, they can't wait for the DVD."

Makes total sense, right? I have to admit that I feel sort of silly for not ever realizing the importance of opening weekend profits to movies made by, for, and about women. I also have to admit that I think it's sort of silly that opening weekend is so important in determining the success of a film, but if it's opening weekend sales they want, then maybe it's opening weekend sales we should give them. If more women-centered movies brought in more opening weekend profits, maybe more women-centered movies would be made.

It's not like there aren't other good reasons to go see movies right when they open. Dan says he likes to see movies on opening night or during opening weekend because the audiences are better. To him, a packed house makes for a better movie-going atmosphere, and since those who make the effort to see something during opening weekend are more likely to be fans of the genre, topic, director, etc., it's cool to be in a packed house of like-minded people. I have to admit that before meeting him, I never really thought of going to the movies in this way, even though I consider myself a movie-lover, but I get where he's coming from, and I'm starting to agree with him about that opening weekend feel. Another good thing about seeing something right after it opens is that you can read all of those online reviews that are full of spoilers, and you can take part right away in any discussions that are sparked by the film.

I'm new to this myself, but my advice to anyone interested in supporting women-centered films is to start following movie news so that you know what films are coming out and when. Read and subscribe to sites like Women & Hollywood and Movies by Women (which I learned of through Viva la Feminista). Learn which female directors and writers you really like, and make a commitment to see their films. There's still a long way to go to close the gender gap in Hollywood.

Anyone have any other good sites to recommend?

"Grossly Obese" Cat is Surprisingly Healthy!

Meet Prince Chunk:


Well, actually, the 44-pound cat's original owner named him Powder, but when she had to give him to an animal shelter after the foreclosure of her home, someone (in either the shelter or the media) decided to re-name him Chunk. Delightful.

And since the woman who lost her home and had to give up her pet is hardly newsworthy, the media has been focused on the spectacle of her giant cat and on finding out which of the 500 or so families who applied to adopt him will win out. (A New Jersey family has been selected, by the way, and they will remain anonymous to avoid the press.)

This story is just bursting with class issues. There's something so heartbreaking about Donna Oklanter losing her house, having to put her husband in a retirement home, moving in with friends, and having to watch the cat she gave up appear on Regis and Kelly and Good Morning America accompanied by a "foster" parent from the shelter.

I'm about to get to the Fat Acceptance part, but I'm going to put in my two cents and say that if Powder's new owners really had hearts, they would get in touch with Donna Oklanter and let her know she can have her cat back as soon as she is ready for him and that she can visit him anytime she wants.

*dismounts one soapbox and climbs up onto a different one*

Powder/Prince Chunk/Whatever-You-Want-to-Call-Him is in the news because of his size, which is apparently a couple of pounds shy of the world record weight for a tabby. And, obviously, since the world thinks that FAT = UNHEALTHY, the coverage is filled with concerns about his health. His original owner suspected a thyroid condition, and one article speculated about how his new owners may be burdened with giving him insulin shots if he's diabetic. After a complete health inspection, however, SURPRISE!

The cat is completely healthy.

Apparently, no one involved in this entire story has ever heard of Health at Every Size. Despite his perfect health, he's been put on a diet and an exercise regimen to make him lose weight. Because losing weight is the most important thing ever. Even for cats.

Today in Double Standards

Last week, I put up a post called Today in Double Standards, hilighting quotes and links to blog posts that specifically noted ways in which men and women are unfairly treated differently in society. Since pointing out double standards is one of the most effective ways we have for revealing sexism and demonstrating a need for feminism, I think I'm just going to make this a regular feature on the blog. I thought about making it a weekly thing, but I don't think I'm consistent enough to actually be sure to post it regularaly on a certain day, so I'll just add them as I notice them.

So, without further rambling, Today in Double Standards:

Faith at Muslimah Media Watch:
Some women suicide bombers are motivated by personal factors and some are coerced. However, there is hardly ever a look at the ideological and political reasons for why women become suicide bombers. I suspect this is because of gender bias. Women are seen as irrational and emotional and the reasons for why they become terrorists are portrayed as irrational and emotional. This is completely different from how male suicide bombers are portrayed. Coverage of male suicide bombers usually does not focus on personal factors and almost exclusively focuses on religion, ideology and politics. Coverage of male suicide bombers focuses on their causes and usually not the bomber himself. This leads to portraying male suicide bombers as having more rational reasons for becoming suicide bombers.

Melissa at Women and Hollywood:
He actually said that kids should drop out of high school smoke a lot of pot and write a movie about it. Aside from that being the stupidest advice EVER, I don't think if a young female actress said this it would be looked at as funny. I think she would get her ass kicked. Me thinks I smell the "double standard."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sandra Valls

Cinequeer just introduced me to an awesome female comic I had never heard of before. Sandra Valls is an outspoken Latina, unapologetically lesbian, and hilarious. I'm posting the video especially for this joke:

"The straight girls wear 'fuck me' shoes. The lesbos wear 'fuck you shoes'."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rape: Still Not Funny

It always bugs me that rape is considered such a hilarious topic in "college humor", considering how rape and sexual assault proliferate on college campuses. See here for some statistics (Note: the link is a PDF).

In this charming little video, CollegeHumor uses the old classic-cartoon-characters-doing-unexpectedly-violent-things trick in order to get some laughs, only it's not funny.

Trigger Warning:

"Super-Raped"? Seriously, what the hell?